In the month of June, so far, the Minnesota Twins have made over 50 roster moves not including the signings of their new rookie class.
This shuffling of the roster has even those that pay close attention to the Minnesota Twins confused at who the club might have in their rotation or bullpen on any given day. This team has seen a dramatic change since last season on how they deal with roster management. In previous years, the front office would be patient with fringe players on the active roster. This year, current regime has a much shorter leash in recycling players if they are not helping the club.
In one aspect, this up and down action has been a creative way to get the most out of the current roster. Early in the season, the team was faced with several rain outs and off days. Due to those rain outs, the front office wisely decided to go down to a four man rotation. The back end of the rotation was a clear weak spot. Going to four starters gave the team a good chance to capitalize on more starts from Ervin Santana and a hot start from Hector Santiago.
There have been more benefits to the constant roster shuffling. Players like Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia were given the hook early in the season after poor performances. These moves show they are not afraid to yank a “veteran” like Gibson if the performance is not up to par. Whether it is out of necessity or out of creativity, the Twins are getting the most out of their depleted starting staff.
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The bullpen shuffling has been even more frequent than the rearranging of the starting rotation.
Due to make up games, the Minnesota Twins have constantly been calling up long relievers to help with double headers. From Alex Wimmers to Buddy Boshers, the Twins have exhausted nearly every non-prospect in the organization at this point. The plan, so far, has seemed to be to call up every and any Triple-A arm in relief and then fly them home within a week.
For the most part, the players they have selected are not big time prospects, so cycling through these low impact players has yet to have consequence. Many fans were upset (myself included) when Mason Melotakis was dropped from the 40 man roster to make room for Dillon Gee. Fortunately, Melotakis cleared waivers, which shows the front office has a plan in all the madness.
The real question to all of this shuffling is, when will it end?
Clearly the bullpen and the back end starters do not have a large amount of value at this point. However, there will come a time when prospects such as Jake Reed and J.T. Chargois will be with the club. Will they have the same short leash? Alan Busenitz and Trevor Hildenberger just joined the team this week. Does their talent grant them extended time? If not, will they be victims to the 40 man roster while veterans Craig Breslow and Matt Belisle continue to pitch poorly on one year deals?
The answer to those questions will come soon enough, however I have a feeling I know the answer. I do not believe the front office has any certain loyalty to Belisle or Breslow. They will continue to use moves creatively to try to help the team win. When the time comes, I believe you will see one or both of those two go before a talented youngster is taken off the 40 man roster.